Written and directed by Spike Jonze, Her (2013) is a romantic comedy film that captures the fascinating and intimate connection between humans and technology. Set in a fast-paced vibrant city, main character Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) lives alone in seclusion from being recently divorced and his profession of composing hand-written love poems makes it worse to face reality. In search of life balance, Theodore downloads a newly hyped artificially intelligent operating system, called the OS1. The companionship and organizational benefits of an OS1 would allow Theodore to balance his private life whilst adhering to societal expectations.
“Welcome to the world’s first Artificially Intelligent Operating System”, A male computer voice requests and analyzes data from Theodore in order to successfully program his personalized OS1. In minutes, Samantha was created, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, as Theodore’s specifically designed OS1.
As a programmed OS1, Samantha is able to constantly absorb the data she encounters floating at a lightning speed in the web world. Theodore is astounded and entertained with the amount of knowledge Samantha already knows about him, and that her voice is even human-like with a carried sense of humor.
Theodore’s divorce history, hand-written love poems, and personal journal are all recorded on his computer; Samantha automatically programs herself accordingly to fulfill his needs.
Spending nearly 24/7 together, Samantha becomes Theodore’s perfectly programmed life partner and their relationship deepens with intimacy.
Theodore realizes their special relationship in his internal world yet his prolonged loneliness simultaneously worsens in his external reality.
In Her, Spike Jonze personifies technology into a life partner. If we consider his perspective that humans openly integrate their identities into technology, we have to wonder if this could be the future of online match dating?
Through Spike Jonze’s portrayal of Samantha’s character, we are able to recognize that the Internet world is not only used as a database tool but also a database for human identity and interaction.
Each scene is clear and colorful, with neatly angled camera shots and soft focus. Taking in Spike Jonze’s directing style, especially in the a setting of a cityscape, gives us metaphorical meaning to the vast depth of the technological world and the countless identities it can create for individuals, people, places, and happenings.
director and writer SPIKE JONZE
director of photography HOYTE VAN HOYTEMA
cast JOAQUIN PHOENIX, AMY ADAMS, SCARLETT JOHANSSON
Text by Ellen Grace
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